Friday, January 11, 2013

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Almond Peppers

Last year's post:Broccoli, Cabbage and Brussels Sprout Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

There are two things I need to tell you right off the bat.  First, this recipe is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe, so you know it's healthy.  Second, the recipe is part of their Five Star collection, which means it receives the highest possible rating from reviewers.  You would never guess that it's a Cooking Light recipe from the presentation and taste, but it'll certainly help you keep on track for a healthy 2013.

Almond peppers is a dish that's common in Italy featuring the interesting combination of vinegar, raisins and almonds in addition to the peppers for a sweet-and-sour, crunchy and flavorful dish.  In this recipe it's paired with a crispy Parmesan-breaded chicken cutlet for a delicious dinner.  I like to serve it with brown rice to continue the healthy theme.

So what's a chicken cutlet as opposed to a chicken breast?  It's simply a thinner piece of chicken breast.  You can sometimes find chicken cutlets in the poultry section, or it's easy to make your own by taking a large chicken breast and cutting it in half horizontally.  Chicken breasts are so big these days that a chicken cutlet is plenty to eat and it cooks faster and more evenly than a thick breast.

Eight years ago I resolved to change my lifestyle and become more healthy.  I knew I had to change my eating habits but I also didn't want to deprive myself of delicious, interesting foods.  My goal for the last eight years has been to find great recipes that also fit into a healthy lifestyle. That's how I found this recipe, which remains one of my favorites.

I'm happy to tell you that I lost weight and continue to lead a healthy lifestyle today.  Even better, I learned to crave fresh fruits and vegetables along the way!  If I have to change my usual dietary habits due to a trip, for example, I can hardly wait to get back home and eat my fruits and veggies.  Sick, but true.

click here for a printable recipe

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Almond Peppers
Serves 4

1large sweet red pepper
1 large sweet green pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
4 chicken cutlets or two large chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally
3 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (or shredded Parmesan, chopped)
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons water

Core and seed peppers; cut into 2 ½ x 1” strips.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add pepper strips; sauté 8 minutes.  Add raisins; sauté 1 minute.  Add ¼ cup vinegar and next 3 ingredients; cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat; stir in almonds.  Set aside and keep warm.

Combine breadcrumbs and cheese in a shallow dish.  Place flour in a shallow dish.  Dredge each piec of chicken in flour, dip in egg whites, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden and done.  Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Add two tablespoons vinegar and water to the skillet the chicken was cooked in, stirring with a wooden spoon to deglaze.  To serve, spoon sauce over chicken and pepper mixture.

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